Mr Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS Global Services and Chairman of NASSCOM BPM Council*, is a global leader with a strong track record of turning around companies and providing strategic leadership to organizations.
Keshav was born in Chennai, India, to well-known, MK Murugesh, a Ranji Trophy (India’s premier cricket league) player, and Arati Murugesh, Manager of the first Indian Women’s cricket team. While graduating in the Commerce discipline from Vishakapatnam, India, he cut his teeth into business by selling generator and television sets, in addition to helping run his family’s shipping, clearing and forwarding business. He pursued his Chartered Accountancy in parallel.
Later as Vice President, Finance at ITC Infotech, and incidentally the second employee of the company, he created ITC Infotech, a subsidiary company for ITC, out of a small Information Services division based on the vision of the ITC Board. Keshav was responsible for creation of businesses across Financial Services, Agribusiness and International Trading Agribusiness division, Sundrop Oil, ITC’s Financial Services business (including Classic Finance and ITC Threadneedle Asset Management), Real Estate business, and finally, ITC Infotech.
As President and CEO of Syntel, the company named by Fortune magazine as among the 100 Fastest Growing Small Companies in the world, Keshav created a very compelling BPO business, turning around the growth story of the company. He grew the headcount three times over and the revenues from $185 Million to $410 Million.
Keshav took over the reins at WNS in early 2010. WNS is a leading global Business Process Management (BPM) company that serves over 200 clients across the globe. It stands at a market cap of $1.3 Billion today. More than 27,000 employees across 37 delivery centers spread across 10 countries are a part of the WNS family. WNS revenues (non-GAAP) stood at $471.5 Million (as on March 31, 2014), with a guidance of $502-505 Million for fiscal 2015. WNS is also one of the Global Growth Companies identified by the World Economic Forum. Today, WNS is known for being the bellwether of the industry growing profits faster than revenues.
Back in 2010, WNS had a strong roster of clients backed by a great culture but needed a clear strategy and stronger sales orientation. Keshav differentiated WNS with an end-to-end vertical approach, technology-enabled offerings and a unique client-centric client- partner program. Verticals are industries that WNS caters to, with an end-to-end approach – solutions, talent, technology, also encompassing training to be imparted to the talent. Thus a person working within WNS for the Banking and Financial Services industry has a grasp of the industry nuances akin to someone working in it. This ensures that WNS works in close alignment with the needs of the industry.
Keshav launched a first-of-its kind entrepreneurial challenge in this industry called WiNCUBATE, for inspiring innovation and igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in within the WNS ecosystem. Winning idea gets a funding of quarter-of-a-million USD from WNS.
“The key is to remain relevant to our clients with game-changing solutions that focus on business outcomes and sticky revenue streams.” It is with this vision and drive for excellence that Keshav has enabled WNS to create value for its shareholders, outperform the expectations of clients, and be recognized as an employer of choice.
Keshav was elected as Co-chairman of the NASSCOM BPM Council in 2012 and its Chairman in 2013. Under his leadership, the industry is going through a massive re-branding exercise from its identity of Business Process Outsourcing to Business Process Management (BPM).
At the core of the re-branding exercise is agility of the BPM industry, which has catalyzed ideas, careers, technologies and local economies. The outsourcing industry has evolved from a low-cost provider of high-quality repetitive tasks and back-office functions to a high-end provider of strategic, industry-specific and value-added services, which provide significant benefits to the top-line and bottom-line of global client organizations.
Keshav serves on the board of WNS Cares Foundation (WCF), the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of WNS. The main focus of WCF is to create a better and sustainable future for underprivileged children and youth through education. With a mission to ‘Educate, Empower, Enrich’, WCF has touched the lives of more than 84,000 beneficiaries across nine countries where WNS has a presence.
Keshav has worked throughout his career to lend his expertise to drive initiatives for social good. The following are his major contributions as a social evangelist: he introduced the first-ever cybercrime educational series for Mumbai Police through WNS, was involved in establishing an unrelated bone marrow registry in India, and Brought the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) to India for the first time and built an incredible connect between student communities and businesses.
Keshav considers his ability to balance work and home to be his biggest achievement. A complete family man, a loving husband to his wife, Shamini, and a doting father to a daughter and son duo, Keshav believes that his responsibilities as a husband and a father hold as much importance as that of being the CEO of a multi- million dollar company. “Less of money and more of emotions and inspirations. I don’t leave home without these.”
Having taken after his father, Keshav, an avid cricket fan, had represented the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, in cricket during his school days. Keshav also likes to don the chef’s hat whenever possible to brew a variety of coffees, cook sushi or put an exotic meal together.
Keshav likes to read books on disruptive business models, new and futuristic business thoughts and fiction. Keshav is well- travelled, loves to experience new cultures, people and cuisines; Cape Town being one of his favorite locations. He identifies with Abraham Lincoln for his courage, and his ability to fight battles of principle that others said were impossible to win – and still emerge victorious. He values transparency and ethical behavior the most.
Keshav was recognized with the 2013 CA Business Leader Award in the Corporate category by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), was a Champion of SIFE Award at the SIFE World Cup, 2007 (the only awardee from Asia) and received the Social Entrepreneurship award at Asia’s Best CSR Practices Awards 2011.
Optimistic to the core, Keshav has a dream for the future of the BPM Industry in India and for the country on the whole. “First, in the ability to make a BPM career the best career option for youngsters across the globe, based on the changes we have made in the business. Second, is something close to my heart: working with under-privileged communities. I see a huge potential in helping people cross the bridge of divide and making a life for themselves. Education is a strong weapon with which this can be achieved.”
*NASSCOM is the industry association for the IT-BPM sector in India. A not-for-profit organization funded by the industry, its objective is to build a growth led and sustainable technology and business services sector in the country. NASSCOM BPM Council, a part of Nasscom, comprises BPM industry players collaborating towards industry-wide objectives.